The little stream burbled its cheerful way down the sunlit ravine to become lost in the shadows of the forest below. Mid-morning was upon the Tall Mountains, the sun was high and bright, as Broughm settled himself upon a flattish rock and opened his lunch pouch.
Removing a sandwich from the pouch, he began munching, his orange beard moving rhythmically, as he gazed around the nearby rock formations surrounding the little stream. His rhythmic munching didn't change in pace or pattern, but his eyes grew sharp and narrowed as he spotted a bit of color moving among the gray rocks below, from the direction of the treeline.
Eventually the moving bit of color resolved into the form of a man, a human. Broughm's left hand continued its grip on the sandwich, but his right stole quietly down to the hammer hanging at his belt. As the form grew nearer, he observed that it was in some distress; staggering from rock to rock, and occassionally leaving a dark stain from time to time as it worked its way uphill.
As he approached, emerging from the mists crawling below, Broughm could make out more details. The sun would glint occassionally upon a bit of armor here or there. A blur of dirty pink would make itself seen as the figure looked upward for the next handhold and the sunlight washed his face. At one point, the blur held, as the stranger spotted the small man sitting in the sun, seemingly oblivious to his approach. He then redoubled his efforts, as if nearing the end of some long, hard-fought race.
Broughm continued eating, slowly, methodically, occassionally pausing to sip a bit of water from his flask, but never taking his surreptitious gaze from the form below. At length, looking at the horizon, he said, “You look to have been through some difficulties. Would be a shame to add to them by continuing your approach unannounced.”
The man halted, breathing heavily for a moment. Then he shouted, “My name is Martis. Fifth Citizen Martis, from the Village. I've come seeking help or refuge. May I come closer?”
To Be Continued...